Christchurch Branch Chair Amanda Jenkins brings members up to date with the action in Canterbury.
Good news – the Canterbury screen industry is alive and kicking and now has its own Screen Guild branch.
In December we had a much anticipated, inaugural meeting of the Christchurch Branch of the Screen Industry Guild of Aotearoa New Zealand.
Over the last few years the local Christchurch screen industry has been evolving rapidly with a wealth of local and international content. AS we grew, we saw the need to recognise and celebrate the fact our skilled technicians are servicing production requirements.
The aim of the new branch is to ensure the local industry has a voice, is visible, connected, enables collaboration, and offers a greater support network within our region to prepare for growth.
Canterbury annually boasts a healthy collection of productions from stills, TVCs, web content, drama, feature films, and documentaries, and has seen increasing international enquires about the diverse locations the Canterbury region has to offer. This summer alone, location scouts have been exploring sunflower plantations, crops, coastal cliff tops and mountains, green pastures, fields, trains, lakes, roads, small towns, beaches, harbours, tropical forests, and new urban architecture in Christchurch City.
The Christchurch screen industry is also excited to be working alongside the new Screen CanterburyNZ Film Office which is actively promoting Christchurch and Canterbury/West Coast locations to the domestic and international marketplace, and is also looking forward to harnessing new opportunities in Canterbury for creating local content and training.
International TVCs and documentaries filmed at various Canterbury locations in the last couple of months came out of China, USA, Europe and Australia.
International Features have been also produced and filmed by ABC, Disney, Emperor Motion Pictures, Netflix, and BBC in the Canterbury/West Coast region over the past year.
We are also excited to hear that there are enquiries to film a multiyear television series in Christchurch in the near future.
Over the past few months over 25 TVCs, web and print advertising productions for the National and International market have been produced for a range of brands in Christchurch and Canterbury.
We also love to tell our own stories. Virginia Wright's documentary, funded by NZ On Air for TV One, is near completion. It commemorates the first anniversary of the Mosque attacks in Christchurch exploring the effects on the families and community. In addition to that, she has other feature documentaries also in development.
Belmont productions is producing Maurice and I, a feature-length documentary directed by Rick Harvie and produced by Jane Mahoney. It explores the remarkable partnership of local architects Sir Miles Warren and Maurice Mahoney. The film tells the story of their groundbreaking work in Christchurch in the 1960s and 70s, as well as their built legacy that was all but destroyed in the 2010/11 earthquakes; including the pair's subsequent fight to save the Christchurch Town Hall from demolition.
Christchurch Film makers Vanessa Wells and Slavko Martinov have also exciting projects in production and development.
Overactive Imagination is in post-production for local writer/director Gillian Ashurst’s NZFC Catalyst funded short The Meek. Shot on location in North Canterbury the short is produced by Nadia Maxwell and Catherine Fitzgerald (Blueskin Films). Nadia and Gillian are also in advanced development on feature film GNATS, which was selected for Script to Screen’s Story Camp in December 2019.
I have been selected to attend Share the Knowledge: Line Producing international workshop in February with Firefly films, While Nadia Maxwell has been selected for Script to Screen’s producers training course Strength in Numbers. Both training courses are being sponsored by Screen CanterburyNZ.
Earlier this month the NZ Cinematographers Society held a well attended workshop in Christchurch attracting 30 camera professionals based in Canterbury.
Christchurch is really gaining momentum and is a place to watch for future growth with exciting times ahead - bring on 2020!
Chairperson Christchurch Branch